Series 53


by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Acts 4:12)

Salvation is the theme of this key verse, but what is meant by the term ‘salvation’? When anyone is saved does it simply mean that he is saved from hell and is ready to be admitted into heaven? Yes, but it means very much more because God’s salvation is comprehensive. We are lost and beaten down by sin, and under condemnation, but He finds us and restores us into fellowship with Himself, and then empowers us to live a holy life. God’s salvation covers man’s need – past, present and future – and it is eternal. It is the salvation of the soul but also of the whole human personality which is brought under the lordship of Christ. Notice the following:-

1. Salvation is something that is absolutely necessary

The last four words of our verse tell us “we must be saved” – not “we may be” or “we can be”. It is imperative – “we must be saved” (see John 3:7). Why must Jesus die? Because mankind must be saved, and for three reasons:-

  1. 1. Because we are not saved already. By nature we are lost, just like the sheep, the silver and the son (Luke 15). We are not only lost, we are perishing (John 3:16).
  2. 2. Because we cannot save ourselves. What can we do to blot out our past sins, or to save ourselves from the present onslaught of sin and Satan? What can we do to guarantee our salvation for eternity? – absolutely nothing! If we are to be saved, this salvation must come from someone outside ourselves.
  3. 3. Because God has provided salvation for us. Why has He done this if we do not need it? Why the amazing miracle of Bethlehem and the ignominious death of Calvary if we could be saved by some other way? The fact that God has, at such infinite cost, promised salvation for us all is sure proof that we all need to be saved.

Notice also that our verse tells us a further very important truth about salvation.

2. Salvation is absolutely necessary here and now

Peter is very careful to say that this salvation is given “under heaven” – not in heaven. It is given this side of heaven, which means that we must receive it in this life. There is no such thing as missing salvation in this life and then receiving it in the next life. Salvation must be experienced here and now, and that is why there is such a strong emphasis all the way through the scriptures of the importance of being saved today – look up and compare Proverbs 27:1; Luke 19:5; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7. The Bible does not promise a second chance of salvation beyond the grave, although many false prophets hold out such promises. The “gospel of the second chance” does three things: first, it makes God a liar; second, it slanders the Cross, and third, it provides a back door out of hell. God is infinitely merciful and desires the salvation of all men, on His terms.

3. There is only one way of salvation

This is the burden of Peter’s message – “Salvation is found in no-one else…” This should read quite literally “the salvation…” – notice the definite article here and compare the words of Jesus in John 10:9 and John 14:6, also the inspired words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:5. There is “no other name…” by which we must be saved, and the name referred to is that of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10). No-one will ever be saved except by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the only Saviour (Isaiah 43:11). Notice that this salvation is in a Person, not in religion, church membership or in rites or ceremonies but it is in the Person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is through faith in His name (Acts 3:16).

4. Salvation is offered to all

This wonderful salvation, which is in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, has been “given to men” – that is, it has been made available to all men everywhere. Thank God there is no racial barrier, for people of all races are invited to believe on Him (Romans 10:13); there is no social barrier(Acts 4:13; Romans 2:11); there is no financial barrier – whether we are rich or poor we all have to come the same way (Isaiah 55:1-2); there is no moral barrier – we may appear to be ‘good’ people or we may be very immoral (1 Timothy 1:15); and there is no age barrier – the young may come as well as the old – look up and compare John 3:4; Acts 4:22.

5. Salvation is absolutely free

It is “given” to men – compare John 3:16; John 10:27-28. You cannot pay for a gift. All you can do is to receive it or reject it. You cannot buy salvation by keeping religious observances (Titus 3:5). You cannot buy salvation with money (1 Peter 1:18-19). You cannot buy salvation by trying to live a good life (Ephesians 2:8-10). Salvation has been once-and-for-all purchased and provided by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this great salvation is available for all who will receive it by faith. What we need to do is to come with empty hands and receive the wonderful provision that God has made for us to be saved for all eternity.